One of the most revered bodhisattvas in Buddhism, venerated by Mahayana Buddhists in Tibet, China, and Japan. Maitreya, who currently lives in the Tusita heaven of Mahayanism, is thought to be the next figure who will achieve full Buddha-hood. This will take place in many thousands of years, when the teachings of the original Buddha will have lost their resonance. Maitreya will then appear, as a full Buddha, to revive and renew the teaching of the Buddhist dharma. Because of this future hope, Maitreya has been at the center of a number of millennarian Buddhist cults of believers wishing to be reborn in a future, less corrupt age. He has even been invoked at times by peasant rebels hoping to improve their current conditions. Nevertheless, many Mahayana Buddhists still believe that Maitreya remains active in the world today as a bodhisattva, and he is depicted frequently in artwork. His Sanskrit name means loving one and he is considered the bodhisattva of all-embracing love. SEE ALSO: Avalokitesvara; bodhisattva; Mahayana Buddhism

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